50 for 50 Idea # 28: Develop a Personal Philosophy to Compete Better

posted on: August 6, 2018
author: Brian Lomax

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the 3 components of Mental Toughness (Philosophy, Character Skills, and Actions & Behaviors). In there, I described Philosophy as the over-arching factor because it could determine how well you could execute the other two components under pressure and through adversity. All great competitors excel at the those 3 components, especially philosophy.

What is a personal philosophy?

Your personal philosophy is the lens through which you see the world and the mental model that guides your actions. In practical terms, it is a combination of perspectives, mindsets, values and principles, that you use every day to help you make decisions about what to think and what to do. When I think of my own evolution as a competitor, the biggest gains I have realized have come through a change of philosophy that resulted in new and sustained behavior.

Here are some of the perspectives that have helped me the most over the last 20 years:

“Focus on the process”

“Embrace the challenge”

“The point of competition is to continuously improve your skills”

“Break the opponent mentally”

“Play through your strengths”

“Good mistakes make me better”

There are many more, but these 6 have been so important that I have written blog posts on all of them over the last 8 years.

Idea # 28 – Develop a Personal Philosophy

In the 3 Components of Mental Toughness, I suggested some reading to get started on developing your own personal philosophy. Here are some additional books that I have come across in the last few years:

Principles by Ray Dalio

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

In addition to these books, another outstanding resource is Brian Johnson’s Optimize site. It’s a subscription based service, and the content is top-notch. He provides excellent book summaries along with some great video courses. All of the resources on the site are designed to help you optimize your life, and much of it is based on philosophy.

When you start studying the perspectives of great thinkers and elite performers, keep a separate notebook for recording the perspectives that resonate the most with you. I use a digital notebook in Microsoft OneNote to do this, but paper and pen work just as well. As you add more notes, review your notebook from the beginning on a periodic basis. That habit will keep your mind sharp. You will be on your way to becoming mentally unbreakable.

Developing a personal philosophy isn’t just about sports; it’s about life. The more that our actions are guided by solid principles, values, and perspectives, the better chance we have of leading a meaningful and fulfilling life. Of course, no one is perfect and we’ll screw up from time-to-time. However, the next moment is always a chance to be better. Use your personal philosophy to have a great day. And then another, and another…

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About the Author

Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.

Learn more about the author: https://performancextra.com/brian-lomax/

One response to “50 for 50 Idea # 28: Develop a Personal Philosophy to Compete Better”

  1. Mark Russell says:

    Good advice. Gene Simmons encourages you to always return to what you know when navigating a challenge. Pivoting back to this proximity can keep you motivated, focused and confident. This encourages you to venture beyond your comfort zone and build out from foundational areas of mastery. For me, this is my resonate.

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